A Citizen Abroad
An Eye on the Continent
UEFA Champions League Match Analysis: Borussia Dortmund v Shakhtar Donetsk
Two of the most attractive teams in Europe squared off to decide who would move on to the quarter finals of the UEFA Champions League. German champions Borussia Dortmund and Ukrainian champions Shakhtar Donetsk. These two clubs come in to this match level on aggregate points, but Dortmund have a 2 away goal edge. Both teams set out very attacking starting XI’s as you can see below.
Us Blues know all about the Dortmund players, having faced them twice in the group stage. However, the Shakhtar team will likely have more than a few unknowns to many. There is, and has been for some time, a very strong Brazilian presence in this squad. Alex Teixeira and Taison are two very dangerous wingmen/attacking mid fielders. Taison was recently brought in to replace €35 million man Willian. These two can cause loads of problems if not properly marked. Fernandinho reminds this viewer very much of Chelsea’s Ramires, a deep lying player that will often make lung bursting runs forward and have a go at goal. Henrikh Mkhitaryan is someone to watch for. He has scored 20 goals for Shakhtar this campaign from his “number 10” role. To me, his playing style is similar to Wesley Sneijder. He has good vision and movement off the ball. These attributes combined with his eye for goal make him a real danger man. He has not been playing at a high level for too long and has yet to develop the decision making skills necessary to succeed as a playmaker at the highest level.
The first 15’ of this one saw Dortmund show a lot of attacking prowess, but couldn’t seem to find the final ball. We also saw a quite shaky Donetsk defense. The game became a bit chippy (not like the one that Park Ji Sung’s dad owns), which earned the ref the wrath of the Dortmund faithful. The vision, movement, and pace of Taison were very impressive, and he seemed to be the only danger for Donetsk. An aside: I can see him heading to England or Italy in the next few transfer windows. Now then, back to the match. You could really feel that the yellow army was getting ready to unleash on the Miners. In the 31’ Dortmund break the deadlock from a corner with a powerful, towering header by Felipe Santana. The corner was whipped in by Mario Götze and no one was going to stop the Dortmund center back. A quick, cracking header and just like that the yellow army is up 3-2 on aggregate. No more than five minutes later and Dortmund have another reason to celebrate. A fast counter attack and brilliant cross by Robert Lewandowski to Mario Götze gives the German champions a 4-2 lead. The finish by the Dortmund number 10 was really something to behold. The ball was struck on a rope by Lewandowski, and after weaving through traffic, Götze put it past Pyatov with the lightest of flicks. That gives the German Super Mario a goal and an assist on the evening. Borussia Dortmund would take their lead in to the locker room at half time.
After the interval, Shakhtar Donetsk brought on Douglas Costa (who should’ve started the match in the first place, in my humble opinion.) The Costa substitution would make a big difference for Donetsk at the beginning of the half. The miners looked a completely different side with much more cut and thrust to them. At the hour mark Pyatov made an absolute meal of a simple save, and handed Dortmund their third on the night. The keeper spilled the ball in front of his net to Blaszczykowski and then proceeded to fall flat on his face. The winger calmly slotted home the dagger in the heart of the Shakhtar team. The final 30 minutes of the match saw plenty of missed opportunities by both clubs, but you never thought that Dortmund were going to blow the lead. The game finished 3-0 to Borussia Dortmund, 5-2 on aggregate and they move on to the next round.
While this wasn’t the result that many neutrals would’ve wanted, it was still quite an entertaining match. This City supporter is strongly pulling for Dortmund in the Champions League. Their style of play is extremely attractive and they seem to be the underdogs of the remaining squads in the competition.
On a hilarious note, the scourge of the earth, Manchester United, lost to Real Madrid. This match saw Fergie almost break his hip while sprinting down the stairs to abuse the fourth official, which he surely won’t get in trouble for. All has been quite from the Rags; apparently they don’t deal to well with referees making decisions against them. Twats. Also, rumor has it that Phil Jones had his top off after the Sergio Ramos own goal. Needless to say, he was left disappointed once again. Phil Jones: The king of blowing his wad early.
Until next time Blues…